EASTERN HARPS will represent their club and county in next year's All Ireland Feile to be held in Derry next June following their one point victory over St. Mary's in a thrilling match held in wet and windy Tourlestrane.
EASTERN HARPS 3-4 ST. MARY'S 2-6
What made this victory so sweet for Harps was when they met in the group stages two weeks previously the Sligo town filleted their country cousins by an embarrassing 33 points.
With their pride obviously wounded but their spirit unbowed even their most ardent supporters in the large attendance could not have expected such a transformation but the unpredictable nature of underage football ensured that the spectators were treated to a fantastic game of football that showcased all the positives despite the inclement weather.
Eastern Harps were able to welcome back their captain Evan Lavin and Jake Stephenson both who had missed the previous game due to sickness and they occupied the pivotal berths of centre back and mid field and excelled in their positions.
In a low scoring first half Harps had the better of the exchanges and led by 1.01 to 0.03, their goal a super effort from Ciaran Dorrian
Midway through the second half Harps got the goals that had been threatening when first Sean O Connor after a sublime pass from Finley Daley finished to the net and then Sean O Hara's effort was saved by keeper Shane Monaghan only to see his brother James gratefully put away the rebound. Seven points up and with the rain falling incessantly there looked no way back for the Maugheraboy outfit but after Finn Murphys third point they were thrown a lifeline when a speculative shot from Murphy evaded the Harps rearguard and finished in the net. This gave renewed hope to Marys and they pressed forward and were rewarded when Scott Lynch expertly finished soccer style to the net to draw level.
If Harps were rattled they definitely did not show it and in an astute tactical switch that obviously was well rehearsed and to the amazement of the spectators they introduced Colin Dwyer to goals thus allowing their net minder Ciaran Hannon who excelled between the sticks to a more advanced forward role.
The first ball he got he scored a point which was immediately cancelled out by an effort from Muldowney. Marys then camped in Harps half but resolute defending from the excellent Eoin Dwyer and the tenacity of Luke Taheny easily dealt with anything Mary's had to offer and as the clock ticked down it looked like both teams would have to settle for a draw, but Harps having done so much up to now went for the jugular.
Thomas Taheny's pass sent Evan Lavin on his way and when his effort smacked the crossbar the diminutive Sean O Hara like he had been doing all day was first to win the breaking ball. Harps steadied their nerves and recycled to Ciaran Hannon and in real Roy Of The Rovers fairytale style the player who started as goalie kicked his second and more importantly the winning point to send Harps to Feile 2013.
After the match Brendan Leonard presented the Johnny Stenson cup to Eastern Harps captain Evan Lavin, the third time for them to receive the accolade as Feile winners.
Ciaran Hannon, Thomas Taheny, Jonathon East, Eoin Dwyer, Aaron Burns, Jake Stephenson, Kalum Byrne, Evan Lavin, Luke Taheny, Sean O Connor,Finley Daly, Sean O Hara, Michael Conlon, James O Hara, Ciaran Dorrian, Colin Dwyer, Bryan Molloy, Fionn O Donnell, Luke Kielty, Stephen Higgins,Gavin Gardiner, Danial Tansey,Oskar Grzenda, John Cosgrove, Cian Higgins
Shane Monaghan, Ryan Gray, Niall Feehily, Michael Kilcoyne,Tom Gavin, Cormac Murphy, Ryan Hargadon, Kevin Connell, Christian Nielson, Cian Muldowney, Finn Murphy, Aaron Rooney, Adam Lynch, Donal Fidgeon, Scott Lynch, Niall Campbell, Ruairdi Mulligan.